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Does Barbara Byrd Bennett push prayer as a response to CPS gang shootings?

While those of us in public education most probably fully agree with the sentiments of the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools regarding a most recent (yet far too often repeating) tragedy in the city of Chicago, one must question her explicit and repeated wish for the public employees in her charge to PRAY. Should the employees follow Barbara Byrd-Bennett's example and encourage the students to pray? What might happen to a public school employee (for example: a teacher) who, in his/her classroom with his/her students, followed up on any such current events or related topics of discussion with encouragement for student prayer on the subject or situation?

With all due respect, this is simply not appropriate language for the "boss" of a public, government entity to direct at the employees. Something about separation of church and state...

FOLLOWING IS THE MESSAGE THAT WAS APPARENTLY SENT AFTER THE FATAL SHOOTING OUTSIDE THE MORGAN PARK SIMEON BASKETBALL GAME LAST WEEK:

From: Internal Communications Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2013 17:21:21 -0600

Subject: Important Message from CEO Byrd-Bennett to CPS Teachers

Dear Teachers:

I wanted to reach out to you and express my hope that you are keeping our children and their families in your prayers in light of this most recent incident.

Educators and community guardians, you are our student’s first line of defense. Know that your dedication and tireless efforts to keep our children safe is deeply appreciated. As we approach this holiday weekend celebrating the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., please

pray for the safety and protection of our youth.

We must stand strong and united while working to improve our student’s academic achievement. Thank you for all you do for Chicago’s children.

Sincerely, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chief Executive Officer



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